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My Garden Diary

November and December 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site.

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


January-February 2013
March-April 2013
May-June 2013
July-August 2013
September-October 2013
November-December 2013
January-February 2014
March-April 2014
May-June 2014
July-August 2014
September-October 2014
November-December 2014
January-February 2015
March-April 2015
May-June 2015
July-August 2015
September-October 2015
November-December 2015
January-February 2016
March-April 2016
May-June 2016
July-August 2016
September-October 2016

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012

Entries below are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. Dates without years, however, may refer to entries on prior pages for the same year.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
25 Nov

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 57-73
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 9%
Wind: 0-8

Just did some puttering.

The 'Goodwin Creek Grey' lavender (Lavandula lanata × dentata)cuttings (14 Oct) do not have extensive (or any) roots yet. I will check them again in 3 weeks.

Tied down two large canes of the climbing 'Peace' rose.

Rain —
This season: 1.37
Week: 0.75

20 Nov

Cloudy, gray, and cool

Temp: 53-60
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 65%
Wind: 1-12

Rain —
This season: 0.70
Week: 0.08

Trimmed a few of the eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum) along the east property line in front, where they were interfering with a sprinkler head.

Applied a generous amount of gypsum to the rest of the front yard (18 Nov). This area had significant foot traffic when we had the exterior of our house painted earlier this year, which compacted the soil. Gypsum reacts chemically with clay soil to make it porous. Not only does this improve drainage; it also improves the effectivity of irrigation, increasing the penetration of water and reducing runoff.

The biennial task of applying gypsum to my garden is now finished. I used approximately 250 pounds to cover both the front and back.

18 Nov

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 54-71
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 7%
Wind: 0-15

Rain —
This season: 0.62
Days since last: 19

Wanting to avoid driving 30 miles just to buy more gypsum, I priced it at some local hardware stores. Orchard Supply wanted over $22 for a 40-pound sack (over $0.55 per pound). DoIt (DIY) wanted $12 for a 40-pound sack ($0.30 per pound). So I drove 30 miles round-trip to Green Thumb, where I bought three 50-pound sacks for $8 each ($0.16 per pound). I would not even consider buying Gypsum at Home Depot (see 17 Nov 2010).

Raked many leaves in front, mostly from the Liquidambar styraciflua. The other trees in front and The Tree in back still remain quite green.

Used an entire 50-bag of gypsum just to finish applying it to the back lawn (13 Nov). I then applied gypsum to the strip on the west side of my driveway in front, the area that contains roses and a valley white oak, rosemary, and coyote bush. I applied gypsum to the smaller part of the front lawn and adjacent shrubs, the part between the driveway and the brick path that leads to the front door of our house. I still had some gypsum in my bucket, so I put a small amount around the dwarf English ivy (Hedera helix 'Hahn's') growing on my mailbox and small amounts down the vertical irrigation pipes for the Zelkova serrata, emptying the pail around the Liquidambar. By then, my back hurt so much that I quit gardening for the day.

13 Nov

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 67-86
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 13%
Wind: 2-13

Rain —
This season: 0.62
Days since last: 14

On the way home yesterday from Gardens of the World where I am a docent, I bought two white-flowering false heather at a nursery near there. Having been disappointed in the past by the plants from that nursery, I knocked these out of their pots to examine their roots before paying for them. Today, I planted them in the rose bed to replace two that had died. Now, all four of the false heathers in the rose bed are new.

Finished spreading gypsum in the west bed (11 Nov) and started spreading it on the back lawn. I need to buy more gypsum.

11 Nov

Clear, sunny, and warm

Temp: 71-86
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 12%
Wind: 3-11

Rain —
This season: 0.62
Days since last: 12

Yesterday, I went on a wild-goose chase. I drove over 40 miles one-way to a nursery specializing in California native plants. Their Web site — updated less than a week ago — indicated they had 14 bush anemones in 1-gallon cans. When I got there, however, all 14 had already been sold! On the way back, I endured some of the worst traffic in the U.S. to visit another nursery, one closer to home and where I frequently shop but which is not along the route to or from the native-plant nursery. I wanted to buy a bag of bone meal and two more white-flowering false heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia). They had no white Cuphea and their large bags of bone meal were actually only half full.

The new magenta cyclamen (C. persicum, 14 Oct) in my greenhouse window died. I think it was too large for the flower pot. At the nursery that had the half-full bags of bone meal, I bought a replacement in a smaller pot. I also bought two 50-pound bags of gypsum. Today, I moved the cyclamen from its plastic nursery pot into a clay flower pot.

The cutting of striped Dracaena (10 Aug) actually has roots. I trashed the parent and potted the cutting with fresh potting mix.

The bromeliad cutting (16 Aug 15) is still alive more than a year after I started it, but it still shows no roots. That might be typical of this variety of bromeliad since it gets most of its water and nutrients in the cup formed by its leaves.

Put up a cutting of the nephthytis (Syngonium podophyllum) that is in my greenhouse window.

One of the Hippeastrum on the counter outside our kitchen is badly infested with mealy bugs. I gave it some fertilizer that contains a systemic insecticide.

Finished broadcasting gypsum in the east bed (6 Nov), completely covered the rose bed, and had enough left over from the first 50-pound bag to do the extreme southern end of the west bed. By then, my back hurt too much to start on the second bag.

6 Nov

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 61-76
Winter chill: 0.0 hours
Humidity: 35%
Wind: 3-10

Rain —
This season: 0.62
Week: 0.10

This past week, I swept seeds from The Tree (evergreen ash, Fraxinus uhdei) off the main patio in back. Twice, I filled a 5 gallon pail and partially filled it a third time.

On another day, I removed the shade cloth from the greenhouse window. The morning sun is lower in the sky and no longer shines on the window.

Today, I broadcast generous amounts of gypsum in the camellia and teardrop beds and had enough left over to do the north end of the east bed. Every other year, I thoroughly apply gypsum to my entire garden — front and back — to break up my heavy clay soil. This improves drainage and allows any winter rain to penetrate the soil instead of running off. In the other years, I apply gypsum only in the camellia bed and around the Camellia sasanqua and azalea plants that are scattered around my back yard; camellias and azaleas are especially sensitive to poor drainage.

Checked the bush anemone (Carpenteria californica) on the east side of My Hill (14 Oct). It is still alive, so I gave it about a gallon of water. The weather has been warm and quite dry, and I will not be running the sprinklers on My Hill for another week. I also discovered where I can buy another one to replace the dead one on the west side of My Hill.

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

Winter chill is the cumulative hours of temperatures at or below 45°F from 1 November through 31 March. It is reported during that period and through April.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year (our "rain-year"). Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no measurable rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also My Climate.
September-October 2016
July-August 2016
May-June 2016
March-April 2016
January-February 2016
November-December 2015
September-October 2015
July-August 2015
May-June 2015
March-April 2015
January-February 2015
November-December 2014
September-October 2014
July-August 2014
May-June 2014
March-April 2014
January-February 2014
November-December 2013
September-October 2013
July-August 2013
May-June 2013
March-April 2013
January-February 2013

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012


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